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Maternity Matters: On Pregnancy Loss In planning this week’s blog entry, my first topical post for Maternity Matters, I thought long and hard about where to begin. There is so much to explore and so … ...
Media multitasking linked to distractibility among youth Researchers have studied the patterns of activity in cortical networks related to attention and working memory, as well as investigating associations between performance in working memory and attention tasks and the extent of daily technology-mediated activities in 13–24-year-old subjects.
MRI scans can help spot HIV in the brain Scientists have developed a way to use MRI scans to help identify when HIV is persisting in the brain despite effective drug treatment. The study shows that patients can have HIV in the brain even when the disease is kept under control by treatment.
Can Intelligence or Personality Compensate for Disadvantage? Can intelligence or personality compensate for background disadvantage in predicting later life outcomes?
How to Sustain Your Activism Thanks to recent events, many people have felt motivated to march in the streets, call their Congressional representatives, or even make protest art. People who have never seen themselves as activists are now feeling the need to do something. Veteran activists are facing the challenge of a renewed effort without suffering burnout. Many of us are feeling a sense of fatigue, after months and months of threats to civil liberties, human rights, and the integrity of our institutions. At such a time, we all need to know how to sustain activism over the long run. Mindfulness offers a way. For many of us, mindfulness is more than an individualistic way of reducing stress. As Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, making peace begins within ourselves, but contemplation leads to compassion, and compassion involves taking action to address suffering. This work to transform the world through social, political, economic, or environmental change is activism. Here are three principles of sustainable activism drawn from the inspirational teachings of Grace Lee Boggs, a lifelong activist until she passed away in 2016 at the age of 100. Boggs spoke of a cultural revolution in which we are transforming how we view ourselves, our surroundings, and our institutions. She advocated making a life, not just a living, by feeding ourselves, educating our children, and taking more responsibility for each other and our communities. 1. Come alive Recent research shows how many people are motivated by the pursuit of meaning—and for many of them, activism is the most intensely meaningful work they’ll ever take on. It is awakened by a sense of being called to do the work—and it is sustained by coming alive with the feeling of finding meaning in one’s work. Boggs teaches that activism means seeing that “we are the leaders” and that we can be the change we want to see in the world. That doesn’t mean we take on the entire burden of change to ourselves; it means that we find a role to play. There are many different forms of activism, and each person can contribute according to their abilities, thinking globally and acting locally. While there are self-defined or self-styled activists, everyone in their daily practice has both the ability and responsibility to change the way we relate individually and collectively to each other and to our social world. Mindfulness practice enables us to know who we are and what we can do and then to do it. This can be as simple as mindful breathing, focusing attention on your breath, inhaling and exhaling, especially when you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Nothing will make you more aware of being alive than counting your own breaths! 2. Connect The research to date says that social connection is the single biggest predictor of personal happiness—and activism is nothing without a sense of connection. It is sustained by uniting with others in the struggle, reminding us that we are not alone. Indeed, studies also suggest that our feelings of connection don’t just make us feel good, they make us do good acts. Connecting with those we perceive as enemies is also crucial. We must resist injustice, and we must resist giving in to the destructive separation of ourselves from others by dividing people as “us” and “them.” Mindful meditation may enable us to see others clearly and listen deeply, making us aware of our interconnections with all beings. There is a specific kind of meditation called loving-kindness that can help enhance that sense of connection, including compassion for those we regard as enemies or those who have harmed us. Connecting also means not abandoning the system, but instead seeing ourselves as part of it. Boggs reminds us that you cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it, and responsible for changing it. 3. Care Activism springs from caring—and it calls us to widen our circles of compassion to include all creatures and the earth itself. That compassion must start with ourselves. Mindful self-compassion is not about letting yourself off the hook. As spiritual activists of many traditions—such as Thomas Merton, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama—have taught, cultivating compassion for ourselves is what allows us to be truly compassionate to others. Indeed, research suggests that mindfulness meditation practices  may increase compassionate responses to suffering. That same research provides evidence that compassion also motivates us to take action in the world. As psychologist Paul Ekman has argued, anger has a place in activism. But anger is not sustainable; anger burns too hot for a lifetime. Boggs saw tending gardens, caring for the self, and caring for others as nourishing activism. Those acts of care are what will carry us through our most difficult times, as individuals and as a society. While activism requires courage to act boldly for social change, it also demands acceptance of what we can’t change. We need patience and understanding that it’s a long haul and we’re not the first ones who have tried to change the world. Making a peaceful and just world is not a one-time event but a sustained process tied to slow evolutionary change. Mindfulness practices can help us to remain present in the moment, engaging in the struggle, and grateful for the opportunity to serve.
High Speed Parenting with Teens — A Common Cause... It’s easy to succumb to instinctive reactions when teens seem irritable, rejecting, and unproductive — especially when we think we understand what’s going on and what they should be doing. Without knowing how to decode teens behavior, and/ or when emotional factors interfere with perspective, … ...
Walking Meetings? Proceed With Caution The benefits of walking meetings have been widely discussed. But they're not always the right choice. Find out why.
People See Black Men as Larger, More Threatening Than Same-Sized White Men Findings could help explain why black men more likely to be shot by police, study says
Brain Awareness Week 2017 March 13-19 #brainweek Getting ready, drawing a BrainStorming cartoon each day of Brain Awareness Week 2017 March 13-19 #brainweek.  Teaming up with The Dana Foundation, via “The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.” My … ...
Blaming and Finding Fault to Achieve Security and Control... Some children learned that their parents expected them to be “perfect.” The parents’ may have held overcritical attitudes that led their children to believe, that their faults and imperfections, were … ...
In the Aftermath of Infidelity, It’s Wise to Seek... When infidelity crashes your marriage or committed relationship, and you want professional counseling to help you and your partner rebound from the betrayal, who should you see and what should … ...
Longer deadlines make people donate more money “If you give a donation within three days, an anonymous contributor will donate an additional DKK 10.” This was the message that researchers from the Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus BSS – Aarhus University, sent out via email and text message on behalf of DanChurchAid to approximately 53,000 Danes who had previously donated [...]
Poor sleep in early childhood may lead to cognitive, behavioral problems in later years A study led by a Massachusetts General Hospital pediatrician finds that children ages 3 to 7 who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have problems with attention, emotional control and peer relationships in mid-childhood. Reported online in the journal Academic Pediatrics, the study found significant differences in the responses of parents and teachers [...]
Information avoidance research shows: From health to politics, people select their own reality We live in an unprecedented “age of information.” Dieters have access to nutritional information, people at risk of genetic disease can undergo cutting-edge medical tests and citizens in modern democracies have access to a wide range of news sources covering the entire political spectrum. However, for all the information that is out there, people make [...]
Rapid blood pressure drops in middle age linked to dementia in old age Middle-aged people who experience temporary blood pressure drops that often cause dizziness upon standing up may be at an increased risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia 20 years later, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests. The findings, being presented March 10 at the American Heart Association’s EPI|LIFESTYLE 2017 Scientific Sessions [...]
Childhood bullying may lead to increased chronic disease risk in adulthood Being bullied during childhood might have lifelong health effects related to chronic stress exposure–including an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes in adulthood, according to a research review in the March/April issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer. Recent advances in understanding of the negative health effects [...]
Your Moods, Sugar and Your Brain I love sugar. You probably love sugar too. Why? It tastes really good and often comes in eye popping colors and shapes. Every holiday comes equipped with beautiful, mouthwatering cookies … ...
Exploring Your Self-Worth Yesterday I wrote about when you first learned that you were unworthy. Today, let’s explore worth even further. Because it can explain a lot. Maybe it can even explain everything. … ...
3 Comedy Screenplay Genres That Still Sell 1. Groundhog Day — Genre:  Wish Fulfillment In these comedies some kind of curse, or psychic trick, or wish is granted which often places our flawed hero in a magically … ...
Why the Clinical Use of Psychedelics May Heal Sexual Trauma Recent research indicates that psychedelics can assist in healing sexual trauma by increasing the personality trait of openness to new experiences.